Tag Archives: 35mm Oerlikon

Transylvanian Cheetahs

Offical caption via NATO last week, “Romanian Gepards of Battle Group Poland training in command and control procedures and target selection and distribution.”

Photos by Romanian Army Cpt. Liviu Burtica.

Unlike the U.S. Army– which has been trying to play SPAAG catch-up in recent years following the retirement of the 20mm VADs and many of the M3 .50cal/Stinger-equipped Avengers– the Germans have long felt a decent gun-armed anti-aircraft vehicle was a must. After all, their brass remembered getting hammered relentlessly by P-47s, Typhoons, and Sturmoviks back in WWII.

Thus, Flugabwehrkanonenpanzer Gepard (Cheetah) was first fielded by the Bundeswehr in the 1970s.

Equipped with a pair of radar-guided superfast 35mm/90cal Oerlikon GDF autocannon, each capable of 550 rounds per minute (although Gepard only carries about 700 rounds) they are spooky deadly to low-flying aircraft and helicopters not to mention any light vehicle short of a main battle tank.

While the Germans have moved on to the LeFlaSys system, which is just a Wiesel with Stingers (while keeping a number of these gun systems in reserve), they gifted the Romanians some 43 ex-Bundeswehr Gepards in recent years.

Of course, everything is going to be counter-drone in the coming years, as witnessed in the recent dust-up between Azerbaijan and Armenia, but, provided enough jamming can keep the quadcopters and other UAVs away, some good AAA never really goes out of style. Doubtless, the NATO forces in Poland are happy to have a few around in the event that things get hot suddenly and a couple of Krasnovian Hinds pop up on the horizon. 

And I am not even going to comment on the irony of Romanians using surplus German gear to fight the Russians